You Don’t Know Till You TRY

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Saturday I was reminded why I like photographing Special Olympic games.  Couple of years ago National Games were in New Jersey and Ohio had a special swim team in competition. Special as in good hard workers, not Special Olympics even though that is why they were there. While waiting on one of the teams to compete I notice a gentleman on the swim floor in a wheelchair. He got up and using a metal cane approached the pool lane. It became obvious that he had the use of just one arm and leg, but jumped into the pool to compete. Swam a freestyle competition and did very well.

Yesterday at the powerlift competition held in the Thurber Theatre at the Drake Union on campus – The Ohio State University – I was witness to another ‘special’ moment.

Young man approached the weights to be lifted with his coach and as the coach was getting the athlete set as I’ve seen the other coaches do I thought he was placing the athletes hand in the right position for the lift. As the coach left I saw this young man using just one hand to do the powerlift!  And lift he did!

The athletes of Special Olympics are a constant reminder that most anything can be accomplished if you are willing to try and the outcome is secondary.

Let me win, but if I cannot win let me be brave in the attempt.

Mom

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Today is Mom’s birthday and today First Lady Barbara Bush passed.  These women were of an era gone by.  Mom bought and sold over 40+ houses/homes over her lifetime. I remember Dad looking at a house and having to make a decision on to buy or not and fretting over Mom’s approval since she had not seen the house. And that was after 40 years of marriage! Mom did it all; cooking as in a master chef, fabric as in pillows and samplers and needlepoint and the stuff coyote with catus that she created, painting, raised 3 sons and lost one, played piano and the most beautiful voice.  Mom and Dad met when she sang and he played in a band back in the 40’s.

I had a chance to see and photograph the Bush’s when they were campaigning.  What I was always impressed with them was how down to earth they were.  At a debate held in Cleveland I remember Dad Bush heading out one of the cars waiting for them and hanging out, kinda lost wondering where everyone was.  Just very nice real people.

So in someway on my Mother’s birthday it would be nice to think she is there to welcome and guide Mrs. Bush on her way.

 

Summer of 63

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It was the summer of 1963 and our church youth group, TUXIS, assembled some of us, students, to take a bus into the South. I don’t remember Parents raising a fuss so at the time I don’t think we knew much about what was going on and having lived some many places already our acceptance of people was pretty open. I remember palling around with what I think was the only black student at Carson Long Military school in PA back in the 50’s. Love to know where he is now.

So the bus loaded up with a bunch of white high school students went on a ride to the deep South to meet up with the local church people. I wonder now how that trip might have changed my outlook on life and what I would do in the future.

What I remember:
Being asked who was on the bus when we stopped to eat.
Seeing cigarette burns on some people.
Sleeping on the floor of a gym – part of the school or church I don’t remember.
Seeing a burned out church.

I’m sure there was more but those moment have stuck with me over the years. And I don’t remember if I had a camera with me. I should have. Maybe I’ll find negs tucked away one of these days.

August of 63 Martin Luther King, Jr gave his speech and I don’t think at that time I connected the dots. Even though the chances of meeting him were so very remote, he is someone I regret not meeting and having a chance to spend some time and photograph him for the future.

His words are inspirational and I wish we could take up his challenge for unity and a better tomorrow.

References: I Have a Dream address  Video

 

“I have a dream”

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28 Aug 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr give his “I have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.

To this day his words ring true and hopefully a Nation united at some point. I think he would not like what he sees today around America.

After having experienced the March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C. I find these words so poignant to what the students of our nation are trying to do. Maybe it will be the students that bring MLK’s words to fruition.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

To David Hogg – Emma González and all the other students having their voice heard, continue to march forward, don’t turn back.

-30-

Iwo Jima Memorial
Marine Corps War MemorialIwo Jima Memorial
Marine Corps War Memorial

 

Stitched UP

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One of the great things about digital photography is the ability to make a panoramic image on the spot if, if, you can see in your head how it will stitch together and will tell a better story than just one image.

Last weekend, March 24, I had the chance to photograph history when in Washington, DC the March for Our Lives event was held.  The crowds were epic and at one point it was impossible to move!  I was trying to get to the corner of 7th NW and Pennsylvania Ave NW and the closest I could get to Pennsylvania Ave NW was about 100 ft out. It was, however, an great opportunity for a panoramic to show the crush of people attending the event.

On the technical side… Nikon D800, Nikon 24mm f1.4 and Microsoft Research Image Composite Editor, you can get it here.

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Looking East on Constitution Ave NW – Federal Trade Commission left and National Gallery of Art right. 3 image stitch.

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On 7th St NW looking North toward Pennsylvania Ave NW. 4 image stitch.

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The wall at the Federal Trade Commission near 6th St NW. 3 image stitch.

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On 6th St NW looking at the Federal Trade Commission with Constitution Ave NW left and Pennsylvania Ave NW on the right. 3 image stitch.

-30-

Student Power

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I had a chance to experience a moment in US history today.  I journeyed into Washington DC to the ‘March for Live’ event. There were people from all age groups from baby’s to plus 80, all nice, cordial and helpful. And I mean everyone. I wanted up on one of the barricades that was a no-no, but the person in charge stated ‘just wait till I turn my back’. As I started to climb up one of the other officers tried to stop me and the lady supervisor came over and stopped him. Absolutely great people everywhere. Besides the great speakers another draw was the mounted police. There were 3 of them and they drew a crowd whenever they stopped.  Took the time to talk to people, shake kids hands and presented a wonderful image. It was funny watching people trying to take a selfie with a horse.  At one point I made a 360 video of the crowd on Pennsylvania Ave. As I rotated the cell phone around I kept hearing a voice urging the crowd on with thought getting them – the crowd – to repeat the phrase, urging them to up their voice.  Later on I found out it was MLK’s granddaughter Yolanda Renee King… this 9 yr old powerful message resonated through out the assembled people. In the end I clocked about 6.5 miles of interesting and wonderful people. A terrific experience. I hope the students keep this going…

 – 30 –

If a person falls in a creek…

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Went to Rockbridge State Nature Preserve today to photograph the falls for Exploring Ohio photo magazine. Rockbridge only runs after a good rain and we have been hit pretty good here lately. I must say that Rockbridge is quite a hike. Not for the faint of heart, bad knees or hips, nor heart issues, plus if you don’t like heights then you don’t want to walk the rockbridge it’s self. No guard rails, just straight down. Looking forward to spring and a green walk. So the story goes like this… when in your head you keep repeating ‘this is a bad idea’ over and over you would think it’s a bad idea. But then as a photographer logic sometimes, a lot of the time, goes out the window. ‘The’ place to get the photo was down a very steep bank covered in leaves after a lot of rain. Would be a hard climb down and very difficult back up given the extra weight of gear and wet leaves covering the ground, but then…
Once down the realization for getting back up sinks in, not good. Did I mention I’m not 20 something anymore, did my mind remind my body of that??? NO… but then you are a photographer and can do anything. Like taking a swim in the creek! Fortunately I had set the camera’s up on the rocks in a safe place and moved the phones to the camera vest before slipping on the wet rocks and doing a face plant in the creek. Did you know that the rather light Nike hiking boots get very heavy with filled with water.
So the moral of the story is don’t think like a photographer sometimes, be reasonable, think like a normal human being. But then I’m an old school shooter, photojournalist. In the end I got the picture.

– 30 –

 

The scenery to and from the falls is quite nice. Go when it’s a bit dryer though. :-]